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Town of Brookfield files petition to become a village

March 26, 2012

Town of Brookfield - The town has officially launched its effort to become a village, delivering an incorporation petition and supporting documents to the state Incorporation Review Board along with the $25,000 fee required by the state to review the request.

The Incorporation Review Board has 180 days to review the petition and make a ruling.

Town resident Jay Walt initiated the incorporation petition last year, hoping to preserve the town's identity and protect its territory from the threat of future annexations.

As a village, the town would have control over its destiny and be able to continue to work to keep its property tax rate low, the incorporation petition says.

In January, over objections from the cities of Waukesha and Brookfield and the Town of Waukesha, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Donald J. Hassin Jr. ruled that the Town of Brookfield's petition to incorporate about 4.2 square miles as a village met state procedural requirements and could be sent to the state for review.

The petition was turned in to the state on March 16, Walt said.

The proposed incorporation area includes land centered near Goerkes Corners, where I-94 and Highway 18 meet. The Goerkes Corners site is where Marcus Corp. plans to develop The Corners retail development, anchored by a Von Maur department store.

It also includes about 288 acres of Town of Waukesha land off Highways 164 and 59, including the site of the former Walmart. Including that land would make the proposed village about 4.2 square miles, just above the 4-square-mile minimum required for incorporation under state law.

The Town of Waukesha objected in court to a portion of its land being included in the incorporation effort. It argued Town of Waukesha land can't legally be included in a newly incorporated village without its approval and absent a border agreement. It had asked Hassin to dismiss the incorporation petition, but he did not.

The new village would exclude parts of the current town, including an area off Capitol Drive around the Capitol Drive Airport and the site of the former Silver Spur restaurant on W. Greenfield Ave. But town officials have said those areas would continue to receive town services until residents there decide which municipality to join.

Attempts by the Town of Brookfield in 1999 and 2001 to incorporate as a village failed, primarily because the proposed area didn't meet the size requirement and because the town was divided into several detached tracts.

Walt said Monday that the Incorporation Review Board usually holds a public hearing on proposed incorporations before making its determination. Erich Schmidtke, of the state Department of Administration's Municipal Boundary Review, said the hearing likely would be held in May in the Town of Brookfield.

In advance of that public hearing, Walt said, the Town Board likely would hold an informational hearing on the proposed incorporation to answer questions about the effort to become a village.

If the review board grants incorporation, a judge would order a referendum in which voters would decide on whether to become a village or remain a town.

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